Goodbye, Google+: Social Network Broken Into Streams and Photos Products


The rumors are true: Google is breaking its Streams and Photos into standalone products, to be managed under Bradley Horowitz, as he announced on Google+ earlier this week.

 Google+ dead Photos Streams announced

Horowitz didn't specifically mention Google+ in his post, but the writing is on the wall. Considering these two products make up much of the Google+ network user experience, their separation pretty much spells the end of Google's foray into social.

Google+ Breakup

Google has given a lot of clues pointing to the demise of its social network over the past 18 months, including the shelving of mandatory Google+ registration when signing up for new Google services, the death of Authorship, moving much of the Google+ team to Android when G+ godfather Vic Gundotra left the company.

Even so, Google+ had continued expanding some services. For example, it wasn't that long ago +Post ads were made available to all advertisers.

Maybe Google hopes to continue using Google+ for advertising only? It seems ludicrous – without a social network, where's the audience to make it worth it for businesses to stay? Ah, there's the beauty of Google though; it was never just a social network. It's primarily an advertising network, then a search engine.

Sure, the social aspect of it would be a ghost town (as we've been proclaiming since its earliest days), but they have such reach across Search, YouTube, Gmail that it may not matter. Google+ was never getting the social engagement and activity Facebook enjoys, but their ad business is still exponentially larger and more lucrative.

If you take Photos and Streams away, there's really not much left to interest users, is there? Hangouts already became a standalone app in the fall. With this latest announcement, it's crystal clear Google has abandoned their plan to build a social network to rival Facebook.

Google+ will now join a host of products that have been killed off before it, in the Google Graveyard. We've said goodbye to Aardvark, Google Buzz, Labs, Google Answers and more.

That's what's amazing about Google, though. They take massive risks that don't always pan out, but they are free to try.

Their plans for the network always seemed somewhat patched together – often, it seemed they were trying too hard to be like Facebook and not getting it quite right. The parts they nailed, like Hangouts, aren't integral or exclusive to the network anymore. Taking on Facebook for the social media heavyweight belt was probably their most ambitious effort to date, but also their most publicized and notorious failure. The concept wasn't bad and you can't blame them for trying – it just never came together.

Goodbye, Google+.


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Mar 07, 2015

You forgot the Google notebook which I really liked and they also killed off. I'd be hesitant to say they nailed it with Google hangouts. We have a lot of problems using those, in part because everyone seems to have 7 different gmail accounts and they wrong one always gets invited. However, we do use hangout because we live on Google Apps for Work and it is easily integrated.

David Brodbeck
Mar 17, 2015

They kill off so many products that I'm reluctant to start using new ones, lest they disappear with all my content. I'm still leery of Google Keep because I still remember when Google Reader disappeared with all my RSS feeds.

Rip Rowan
Mar 19, 2015

This is the key problem I'm having with Google. First there is the risk you'll grow dependent on a decent service that they kill. Notebooks, Reader, Wave, Groups, Picasa, now plus. Secondly when there is a problem Google isn't there to support you.

Lesson learned: when you're the product not the customer you get treated like a product not a customer.

Google please shut up and take our money.

Apr 23, 2015

i'm with you on that. I used iGoogle a lot as a compiled source for all my science/tech/ and other news. It was the best. Still can't understand why they pulled the plug. They have nothing to replace those functions.

Mar 19, 2015

Indeed, the Google one account thinking is just a doomed ideology. Have a friend login to gmail once from your computer and that account will forever haunt your login screens.

Plus, it's just plain painful that you never really truly logout of Google and then you can't, for example, access Youtube because you're using an account that hasn't had Youtube added to its list of services.

I get this all the time and pretty much gave up even trying to be able to login with the correct account in a normal fashion and use the Firefox private browsing window for all Youtube stuff instead. That's the only way I have found to be able to login with my own personal account instead of one of my work-related accounts (bug in the login handling).

Apr 11, 2015

Easy solved problem. Clear cache in your browser.

May 15, 2015

From what planet are you? I have the same problem identified by P.L. and there is no way I would clean my browser cache 10 times each day. Using 2 different chrome browsers (accounts) was the best way to solve this mess.

Mar 07, 2015

There is a very substantial community on google plus built around roleplaying, all users in that community (myself included) would hate to see it go.

Mar 19, 2015

Hear! Hear!
Me, too.

Mar 10, 2015

Why would word stream choose to loose credibility by jumping on such a FUD bandwagon. Bradley Horowitz did not say any thing about G+ being shut down. What he did post was that he will be manager of Photos and Streams.

Thats it.

Could it just be that they will take a very successful part of G+ and enhance it outside on its own? Look at You Tube modal. Imagine that YouTube did not exist outside of its integration with G+. Then he had said he was talking over the "Video & Streams" instead of photos.. Then they build YouTube..

Point here bing that creating a new 'Photos and Streams' component as an extension of the photos that is now part of G+ does NOT mean that G+ is shutting down. Video is a part of G+ but YouTube exists as its own stand alone entity as well. Photos is a big part of G+, but "Photos & Streams" can also exist as its own entity.

Stating assumptions as facts is just shitty blogging. Spreading FUD sucks.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 10, 2015

It's not really being stated as a fact. Larry wrote "the writing is on the wall." That means he thinks it's obvious that Google+ is headed for discontinuation, not that it's already been shut down.

Mar 11, 2015

The feeds we see today was called streams way back in 2011.

Scott Davis
Mar 13, 2015

Well said.

Mar 13, 2015

maybe they can offload it to brazil like they did with their previous hamfisted foray into social media: orkut.

Mar 14, 2015

It looks that way.....sadly.....

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Mar 15, 2015

Updated one..

closed internet
Mar 16, 2015

Personally, I think google has no choice but to continue the product or concede to a future internet and potentially phone system governed by Facebook. It's time to get more creative and pour in the resources. Offer as a cloud service a social backend so people can create mini social platforms that potentially tie into the master profile. FB has an over 200 billion dollar market cap. If you invest 10 billion and come up with 100 billion in book value in 5 to 10 years time, I'd call that a success. g+ will be the thing composed of other parts. if they are not seeing this evolution of the internet then the future is what it is. to most people it really doesn't matter until you go deep and understand how one player cannot dominate social because it then becomes too easy to start shutting players like google out of the picture.

Paulo Mirpuri
Mar 16, 2015

It seems difficult to think that Google surrender with Google . I think that reinventará some formula so that it was still working, maybe no as now but neither deleted completely
Mar 17, 2015

I actually like Google+ a lot better than Facebook because it's a lot easier to use, straightforward, and I can do more with it. I know that it people are attached to Facebook because they use it a lot, but they forget how much more restrictive it is with user control and friendliness, and they forget all of the controversy that this has caused over the years.

People might have grown comfortable with Facebook's limitations, but they forget the complaints that they had when they switch from MySpace to Facebook and the loss of control that they had over personalization. The real reason that Facebook seems to be the leader of social media, and the reason that so many try like google has with their social networks and fail is not for a lack of quality of product, but it comes out of a generated repugnance the people have towards other options, other than Facebook, and the fact that they have made Facebook a habit more than anything else

J.R. Duren
Mar 19, 2015

This is such sad news. I do social media work and I absolutely love G+. In my opinion, it's far superior to Facebook in design, functionality and business integration. It's so unfortunate people prefer Facebook, especially because FB is such a default social networking option. If people made their choice on design and functionality, G+ would win every time. Oh well. Like you said, sometimes you fail. It's a pretty beautiful failure, though.

Mar 19, 2015

I'm just wondering how anyone could tell it is a ghost town if majority of the contents shared by users are private and not shared publicly. Do you have access to some Google internal statistics?

Michael Ash
Mar 21, 2015

It's amazing that they extended the life of G+ for this long. It's even more amazing that a company the size of Google still pivots endlessly and is not afraid to tick people off. Regardless of how many devoted users they have for any experimental pods.

Angel Rodriguez
Mar 26, 2015

With their often disappearing products, I never put much stock into google's misc products. Gmail seems safe, but I plan to backup my contacts other than online and my phone. I just don't trust them.

Jim Collins
Mar 29, 2015

I don't see it as a big loss Google needs to stick to search and leave the rest out of it then again I dont use most of their products with the exception of Youtube.

Apr 16, 2015

It is actually astonishing how many misses Google had. Except for Search/Adwords combination founed 14 years ago, all other Google products were failure or bought from other 'garage' vendors.

I wonder what those legions of super-smart programmers do there at all. Ball bouncing?

This is also spectacular example of a failure of concept whics says that team is more important than idea. Google have had all the best guys yet no success. Idea is (still) the king.

Art Johnaon
Apr 18, 2015

Folks - If you all just look at the facts a little closer you will discover that "breaking out" Photos will add more to more engagement and actually grow Google+ rather than bury it, just like what happened when Google elected to "break out" HangOuts as "separate" app (in May 2013). HangOuts was actually was not separate at all. It was just another doorway into the fastest growing social, learning, and business development platform on the planet.

Yes, Facebook has 1.32 billion folks on it, but Facebook is already over ten years old, and many of the "likes" are phoney created by paid off-shore click-farms Google is deciding to break out Photos because of what it saw Facebook's acquisition of Instagram do. Auto back-up of photos and videos on Android phones right to Google Plus is also growing more Google+, and Photos AutoAwesome and auto-created Stories are truly amazing, once folks learn about them. Once they do, Google Plus will grow even more.

Google Plus only launched in July of 2011 and already boast 540 million "active" users.Do the math. It's exponential growth is "deceptive" as it continues to overtake even Facebook via its exponential rate of growth.

Also "connect the dots" ...Google also owns Google search which is now "semantic" and its embedded smack dab in the middle of Google Plus giving it tremendous power. Google also owns YouTube the world's second largest search engine second only to Google Search itself.. and Google owns Android which has even overtaken iPhone in U.S. and has the world market. If you think Google+ is going away, look a little closer at the facts.

Kindly, and with best regards,
Art Johnson
New World Communications

George Zarogiannis
Apr 26, 2015

Very shallow writing here. Do you really think google plus is a social network (some enjoy it as such).
Just a place to connect alll layers that is Google.

Jun 03, 2015

I am really sorry to learn that Google Plus is closing down. Unfortunately, it has come to an end. Wish you all the best.

Anthony Quill
Jul 08, 2015

There is absolutely nothing in the announcement to suggest "The Death of Google Plus" - all that was said was that one guy is going to start to manage streams and photos. Uh - how on earth does that equate to splitting up and killing off Google Plus??
This article is most likely sponsored by facebook...

Jun 01, 2016

I recently shut down my Google+ page, it seems it's not worth the effort.

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